happy birthday to the immortal bob marley

February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981

Born fatherless, never knew my father.
My mother worked. She didn’t have no way of
keeping me going to school. We don’t have
education, we have inspiration. If I was
educated, I would be a damn fool.

Me don’t have no prejudice about myself.
Why me don’t have no prejudice about myself?
My father was white, my mother black. You know,
dem call me half-caste, or whatever. Well, me don’t
be upon nobody’s side. Me don’t be upon black mon’s side
nor white man’s side but upon God’s side, de mon
who create me, who cause me to come
from black and white.

Reggae music is the the people’s music, reggae music is news.
It’s news about your own self, your own history, things that
they wouldn’t teach you in a school. Reggae music is a
music created by Rasta people. And it carry earth
force, a people rhythm, earth people. You know,
there’s a rhythm of people working,
people moving.

Dreads of the world suffer.
Masses of the people suffer.
And dis music come from the
masses of the people.

Why one race want to be rich and the other one poor?
Why one want to fight on the other? It’s no more of that.
The youth of today say no, that cannot work no more.

How long have I been a Rastafarian?
I am a Rastamon, you know, I stand Rasta.
To say how long is like, again, I say, from Creation,
if you can overstand it that way. Because y’all like
to say 15 years, 10 years, it’s not really so.
It’s from Creation.

The only law which is law is the law of life,
the law of how to live. Me don’t want to get
involved in talking like me is a politician.
Me just want to talk about righteousness.
Jah is Earth’s rightful ruler.

I don’t come to bow, you know, I come to conquer.
I don’t come to bow, I come to conquer.

My home is always where I am. My home is in my head.
My home is what I think about, how I try to settle my mind.
That is my home. My home is not in the material world but there.

I don’t really have no ambition, you know.
I only have one thing I’d really like to see happen.
I’d like to see mankind live together — black, white,
shiny, anyone, you know what I mean? That’s all.

We are revolutionaries.
Me see myself as a revolutionary,
who don’t have no help, nor take no bribe
from no one, but fight it single
handed, with music.

My life is important to me,
but all people life is important.
My life is only important if me can
help plenty people. If my life is just for
me, my own security, then me no want it.
My life is for people. That’s the way me is.

I say to the people that they have a voice inside of
them that talk to them, you know. That is the voice
that people must listen to. Because in everything
that you go and do, there is a wrong way and a
right way. And if you listen good, you will
know the right way. You know? Because
there is a voice inside talkin’ to
everyone. Seen? Seen.

Jah lives, children!

butter meditation


What you must do is to cut back on words and devote yourself solely to sustaining your primal energy. Those who wish to strengthen their sight keep their eyes closed. Those who wish to strengthen their hearing avoid sounds. Those who wish to sustain their heart-energy maintain silence.

When a student engaged in medi­tation finds that he is exhausted in body and mind because the four constituent elements of his body are in a state of disharmony, he should gird up his spirit and perform the following visualisation:

Imagine that a lump of soft butter, pure in colour and fra­grance and the size and shape of a duck egg, is suddenly placed on the top of your head. As it begins to slowly melt, it imparts an exquisite sensation, moistening and saturating your head within and without. It continues to ooze down, moistening your shoul­ders, elbows, and chest; permeating lungs, diaphragm, liver, stomach, and bowels; moving down the spine through the hips, pelvis, and buttocks.

At that point, all the congestions that have accumulated within the five organs and six viscera, all the aches and pains in the abdomen and other affected parts, will follow the heart as it sinks downward into the lower body. As it does, you will dis­tinctly hear a sound like that of water trickling from a higher to a lower place. It will move lower down through the lower body, suffusing the legs with beneficial warmth, until it reaches the soles of the feet, where it stops.

The student should then repeat the contemplation. As his vital energy flows downward, it gradually fills the lower region of the body, suffusing it with penetrating warmth, making him feel as if he were sitting up to his navel in a hot bath filled with a decoction of rare and fragrant medicinal herbs that have been gathered and infused by a skilled physician.

Inasmuch as all things are created by the mind, when you engage in this contemplation, the nose will actually smell the marvellous scent of pure, soft butter; your body will feel the exqui­site sensation of its melting touch. Your body and mind will be in perfect peace and harmony. You will feel better and enjoy greater health than you did as a youth of twenty or thirty. At this time, all the undesirable accumulations in your vital organs and viscera will melt away. Stomach and bowels will function perfectly. Be­fore you know it, your skin will glow with health. If you continue to practise the contemplation with diligence, there is no illness that cannot be cured, no virtue that cannot be acquired, no level of sagehood that cannot be reached, no religious practice that cannot be mastered. Whether such results appear swiftly or slowly depends only upon how scrupulously you apply yourself.

I was a sickly youth, in much worse shape than you are now. I experienced ten times the suffering you have endured. The doctors finally gave up on me. I explored hundreds of cures on my own, but none of them brought me any relief. I turned to the gods for help. Prayed to the deities of both heaven and earth, begging them for their subtle, imperceptible assistance. I was marvellously blessed. They extended me their support and protec­tion. I came upon this wonderful method of soft-butter contem­plation. My joy knew no bounds. I immediately set about practising it with total and single-minded determination. Before even a month was out, my troubles had almost totally vanished. Since that time, I’ve never been the least bit bothered by any complaint, physical or mental.

I became like an ignoramus, mindless and utterly free of care. I was oblivious to the passage of time. I never knew what day or month it was, even whether it was a leap year or not. I gradually lost interest in the things the world holds dear, soon forgot completely about the hopes and desires and customs of ordinary men and women. In my middle years, I was compelled by circumstance to leave Kyoto and take refuge in the mountains of Wakasa Province. I lived there nearly thirty years, unknown to my fellow men. Looking back on that period of my life, it seems as fleeting and unreal as the dream-life that flashed through Lu-sheng’s slumbering brain.[6]

Now I live here in this solitary spot in the hills of Shira­kawa, far from all human habitation. I have a layer or two of clothing to wrap around my withered old carcass. But even in midwinter, on nights when the cold bites through the thin cotton, I don’t freeze. Even during the months when there are no moun­tain fruits or nuts for me to gather, and I have no grain to eat, I don’t starve. It is all thanks to this contemplation.

You have just learned a secret that you could not use up in a whole lifetime. What more could I teach you?


welcoming flies at the picnic


I don’t call

any song finished if I don’t

think that it somehow is vibrating with

the awareness of how we live in spite of the inevitable.

Which is what all spirituality is, is how do we come into being,

how do we live fully in the constant, conscious knowledge

that we won’t always? How do you invest in the idea

of any real commitment in the face of

everything being finite?


…We’re sort of

seduced into thinking that here’s life,

and there’s these bad things that can happen,

obstacles that just fall into your road, as if the obstacle

is not the road. You know? We want to think that all things

being equal, we should be content all the time, and would

be, except for these pesky flies that want to ruin

every picnic. As if that isn’t what

the picnic is.


Joe Henry


do listen to

Welcoming Flies at the Picnic,

it will gladden your



please stay forever

emmit gowin


I have

lived in my own book.

One I never planned to write,

recording time backwards and forwards.

I have watched the snow fall onto the sea and traced

the steps of a traveler long gone. I have relived moments

that were perfect in their certainty. Fred buttoning

the khaki shirt he wore for his flying lessons.

Doves returning to nest on our balcony.

Our daughter, Jesse, standing

before me stretching out

her arms.


— Oh, Mama, sometimes I feel like a new tree.


We want

things we cannot have.

We seek to reclaim a certain moment,

sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother’s voice.

I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift.

Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter

taller than me, weeping from a bad dream.

Please stay forever, I say to the

things I know. Don’t go.

Don’t grow.


Patti Smith